Thursday, December 28, 2023

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, a Repost blog post #634

 Images Courtesy of


Well, our nameless hero got his petty revenge on Graciela last week. Didn’t accomplish much except bring some satisfaction into his dim life, and that was worth something, right?

 Swore I wasn’t going to do this again, but the week got away from me—life intruding, you know—and I’m going to repost a story again. This one was originally published on May 8, 2018, and it’s one I forgot about and rediscovered. I like it. I hope you do too.




I left the chapel following Charles Farrelson’s memorial service somewhat spiritually fractured. Chuck, thirty years my senior, had been both father figure and lover for the past five years. For at least 250 of the last 260 Wednesdays, he’d filled my afternoons with good food, sharp wit, and loving caresses. Yet the sorrow tugging at my heartstrings felt selfish. It seemed more centered on what was taken from me, rather than his life being snatched from him.

Feeling the need for nourishment, sustenance… something. I walked past the cars in the parking lot and struck out for the Famous Four Flavors ice cream shop across the street. A tall hunky guy I’d noticed at the service entered before me. I’d picked up on him not only because he was so handsome but also because he was Chuck’s son Drake.

Restraining the impulse to introduce myself, I fell in line behind him wondering how he’d feel about meeting his father’s gay lover. Once he collected his chocolate shake, I ordered a strawberry. Keeping my eyes straight ahead, I walked toward a nearby table until a deep baritone brought me to a halt.

“I noticed you at the service.” Drake indicated a chair. “Join me?”

When I was settled, he offered a handshake. “Hi, I’m Drake Barstow.”

I grasped his hand and frowned. “N-not Drake Farrelson?”

His eyebrows reached for his dark hairline. “No. Why would you think that?”

“I’ve seen you before. Last December, I saw you and Chuck leaving Dillards. I asked him later, and he said you were his son.”

His astonished look morphed into glee. “That old dog! Now let me guess. You’re not Carl, Chuck’s nephew. You see, I saw you with him once, too, at the University bookstore.

“I’m Carl, all right. But I’m not his nephew. I was… uh, a friend.”

“Yeah, a friend. What was your day?”

“My day?”

“When did you meet him? Was it on a special day of the week?”

“Well… yes. We got together for lunch or something every Wednesday.”

“Yeah, or something. I was Friday. That’s the day we got together for… something.”

“You… you mean you and Chuck…?”

“That’s exactly what I mean.”

“For how long?”

“Ten years. I was eighteen when I met him. Got together with him every Friday after that except when one of us was out of town. And that wasn’t often, I can tell you.” He arched an eyebrow at me. “How long for you?”

“Five years. I was eighteen, too.”

“Apparently, that’s the age when we first grab his attention. But he was loyal, in his own way, I guess you could say. Outside of Chuck, what do you do?”

I felt my cheeks burn. “No one. It was just—”

“Sorry, that’s not what I meant. What do you do to keep a roof over your head?”

“I’m a commercial artist. You?”

“Photographer. And I’ll bet you’ve got as many intimate drawings as I have photographs.”

My cheeks really flamed then. “Uh, a few.”

“Yeah, I’ve got some scorchers, too.” His attention strayed from me to the front door of the shop. “Hang on, I think we’re about to meet Monday.”

I looked where his gaze was centered and saw the other individual who’d caught my attention at the memorial service. Impossibly young and blond, the kid was really cute.

“What makes you think—”

“Well, he’s not Chuck’s son or nephew, and probably not even a cousin. But he was at the service. What are the odds?”

We both watched the kid’s coltish, self-conscious carriage as he ordered a coke and then turned to glance uncertainly over the room. His eyes stopped on us before moving on.

“Have a chair,” Drake said.

With only a moment’s hesitation, the kid sat.

We identified ourselves and watched the newcomer’s reaction. His blue eyes skittered back and forth between us as he sank into a chair at the table.

“Confused?” Drake asked.


“Well, I’m not Chuck’s son, and Carl’s not his nephew. Now let me make a couple of guesses about you. You’re what? About twenty or twenty-one?”


“Your name’s Jake and you met Carl about two years ago.

The kid seemed flustered. “That’s right. How did you know?”

“I saw you with Carl once at the Kimo. He told me your name later.”

“You saw us?”

 “Bound to happen sooner or later,” I said. “Albuquerque’s not that big of a town.”

Jake looked as if he was about to bolt.

“It’s okay,” Drake said. You’re among brethren.”

“What do you mean?”

“What I mean is I’m Friday, Carl’s Wednesday, and I’ll bet you’re Monday.”

“I don’t know what you—”

“Come on, don’t play coy. You met Chuck for lunch and playtime every Monday, right?”

“I met him, yes, but—”

“Butt being the operative word. You got it on with him. We all did.

Now it was Jake’s turn to send his eyebrows northward. “You mean…?”

“Yep. That’s exactly what I mean. Old Chuck got his jollies every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with us. Who knows, we might be why his heart failed. Hell, he wasn’t even fifty-five yet.”

That comment sat on the table for a moment while we all digested it. Then Drake took charge again.

“Now what we have to do is figure out the situation. You know” he turned pedantic. “Let not what Chuck sowed be put asunder!”

Jake and I blinked back at him for a moment before smiling.

“How do you know we’re compatible?” I asked.

Drake winked. “I’d bet on it.”

After raising a silent toast to our dear, departed Chuck, we put our heads together and started working out our Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.


That story didn’t come out of any experience of mine. Reading it makes me wonder how my mind works, but I’ll not delve into that too deeply. At the turn of the year, I’ll try to do something original… although I am taking on a new project that’s going to demand a lot of my time. Hopefully, it’s productive in the end.

Until next week, stay safe and strong.

Now my mantra. keep on reading and keep on writing. You have something to say... so say it!

Please check out my seven BJ Vinson murder mystery books published by Dreamspinner Press.

My personal links:



X: @dontravis3

See you next Thursday.


New Posts every Thursday morning at 6:00 a.m., US Mountain time.

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Sometimes Things Turn Out All Right, a Repost blog post #633

 Images Courtesy of


Hope you enjoyed last week’s story about Chuck the Rock and Perry the Brick. Today, I’ll wish everyone a Merry Christmas and happy Holiday Season and wimp out with a repost. I’ll blame it on the busy season, although I don’t know what my buddy Mark Wildyr will say because he told me he’s doing the same thing.


I first ran the following story on Thursday, August 14, 2014. I’ve not edited it a bit, so you can tell he how much my story-telling style has evolved. Enjoy.




I thought I’d die when she walked up to me. Guys aren’t supposed to admit things like that, but, man, that’s the way I felt. Part of it was surprise, and part of it was pure excitement.

Graciela (I never called her Gracie like everyone else) and I had a history that stretched back to grade school. We’d started out yanking hair and kicking shins, but that switched to lipping off to one another as we got older. But I went virtually mute the first time I noticed she had breasts. One day she was built pretty much like me and the next, these knobby little things popped out on her chest. Kinda hard holding a casual conversation while sneaking glances at those awkward protrusions.

The real transformation took place our freshman year in high school. Those knobs became balloons. Her rounded hips made my throat go dry. Imp-face became Pixie-face. Right about then, Graciela discovered boys. Not this boy. Not the schmuck next door, but guys older than me. Guys with shoulders and biceps and pecs and Adam’s apples.

I used to hang around hoping she’d notice me. I’d head for school at the same time she did. I went to school dances … which I loathed … just to see her dressed up like a movie star. And in the privacy of my bedroom at night, I did my best to render myself blind while holding onto a mental image of her. And felt unclean afterward.

My senior year I used some of my hard-earned savings and bought an old Ford, a jalopy like you saw in the Archie cartoons but without the rumble seat. Guys that hadn’t given me the time of day got to be buddies, but Graciela didn’t give me a second glance.

One warm, pleasant Saturday afternoon about one-thirty, I breezed through the front door heading for my car in the driveway. As I reached for the door handle, Graciela materialized beside me. Surprised me. Scared the crap out of me, actually.

“Johnny,” she cooed. Only person I knew who could speak and coo at the same time.

“Uh … oh, hi. Didn’t see you there.”

“I need a favor. Please.”

She had the prettiest “pleases” of anyone in town. “What’s that?”

“I need a ride to the mall.”

Our only mall, The Eastside Mall, was – guess what – on the east side of town. I’d intended to head in the opposite direction to meet a couple of the guys at the municipal swimming pool. But screw the guys.

As she settled in the front seat beside me, my mind’s eye saw us holding hands and exchanging glances as I drove down Henderson Drive. Me, a man in control of his powerful automobile, and she, the woman at my side. My starter ground, shattering the image. Nonetheless, I got the old jalopy started and backed out of the drive, almost clipping the mailman as I did so. Anxious for something to say in the face of near disaster, I cleared my throat as I followed her directions and parked as close to Dillard’s as possible.

“I can hang around and bring you back home, if you want.”

“That’s sweet. But I don’t know how long I’ll be,” she said.

“I don’t mind. I can just … you know, hang.”

“I’m meeting someone.”

“Who? Marcy?” She and Marcy were as different as night and day, but they were tight. “I wouldn’t mind having a pretty woman hanging off each arm.” Did I really say that out loud? My cheeks felt like they were on fire. They actually burned. I didn’t dare glance at her.

“Not Marcy. Well, thanks loads.” She tossed the words at me as she flounced out of the car and slammed the door.

By the time I got my voice-box to working she was walking down the sidewalk toward a dork named Freddy Fleisher. Last year’s fullback … this year’s freshman at the community college. All shoulders, biceps, thighs, and a real Adam’s apple. With hair on his legs, to boot.

When they hugged, I felt like something tore loose inside me. He planted a kiss on her lips before opening the car door for her.

I’d driven her to her date? Why didn’t he pick her up? My blood pressure dropped twenty points. I felt used. Like a taxi driver who got stiffed for the fare. I sat there like dog doo on the bottom of a shoe, my eyes watching the two-year-old Olds convertible fire up. Freddie revved the engine before throwing the transmission into Reverse.

Movement caught my eye. A vehicle motoring down the lane was invisible to the couple in the Olds because of an SUV parked on their right. Mr. Flannery, the same postman I’d almost nailed, was headed to the mall’s substation. I could probably have honked a warning, but I didn’t.

I expected a big crash when Freddie came roaring backwards out of the parking space but it was more of a thud and a crunch. Freddie must have been flustered – decidedly uncool – because he slammed the Olds in Drive and shot forward, smashing his front end into the Chevy parked on his left.

Graciela and Freddie piled out of the car, both talking a blue streak. What I got out of the rush of words was that Freddie was wrapped up in the wreck of his dad’s wheels, while she was bitching about being late for an appointment.

I took a deep breath, eased my jalopy in gear and rolled past the scene of the accident. As Gracie tried frantically to wave me to a stop, I gave her a casual salute and went on by. A swim with a couple of buddies – boring though they might be – seemed like a good idea right about then.


We all get petty now and then, don’t we. Can’t say I blamed him.

Until next week, stay safe and stay strong.

Now my mantra: Keep on reading and keep on writing. You have something to say… so say it!

Please check out my BJ Vinson murder mystery series starting with The Zozobra Incident and ending with The Cutie-Pie Murders. I may be biased, but I still think they’d make great Christmas gifts for the right person.

My personal links:



Twitter: @dontravis3

See you next Thursday.



New Posts every Thursday morning at 6:00 a.m. US Mountain time. 

Thursday, December 14, 2023

The Rock and the Brick blog post #632

 Images Courtesy of IconScout and PNGkey:


After completing “Boy for Sale,” we have an inkling what private investigators go through in resolving their cases. Wonder if that’s really true? Do any of you know a PI who’d do something like that out of a sense of duty?

Today, we’ll have a piece of flash fiction. Hope you enjoy it.



My buddy spelled his name C-H-U-C-K while his wife penned hers as J-U-D-I. Misspelled it is more like it. I know for a fact she was plain Judy back when she was in pigtails. And so far as I was concerned, that said everything about their union there was to say. Charles, known to one and all as Chuck, was biscuits and gravy with eggs-over-easy, while Judi was more Swiss rösti with smoked salmon. That pegged the two of them perfectly in the mental envelope of my mind. I’d predicted domestic problems from the beginning, but they defied my logic and seemed the perfect pair of love birds.

For three years.

The first apparent crack appeared six months ago when Chuck let his mouth get away from him when four of us were having our weekly boy’s night out at Steve’s Neighborhood Bar.

Chuck, Billy, Steve, and I had gone to high school together, split up to attend different colleges, and returned home to pursue careers. I’m Perry, by the way, but years ago high school sportscasters dubbed me Brick—for that fabled brick outhouse—and Brick I remain today. Chuck and I ended up in the same architectural firm, me as an architect, and him as a draftsman and surveyor. Billy operated a first-rate auto repair shop in town, and Steve owned the bar where we go to water once a week.

Anyway, this one night, Chuck bellyached about a dress Judi’d bought for an upcoming shindig at the office. A way-too-expensive, filmy thing he didn’t even think was appropriate. Of course, we needled him about being king of his own household, which didn’t improve his mood any.

Over the next week, he showed up at work late once, unshaven once, and grumpy the rest of the time. The office shindig at the country club proved to be a big success, and while Judi looked like a million dollars in a filmy, pink chiffon thing, I had to admit it was a bit over-the-top for one of our affairs.

The second clue came when Chuck showed up at my house one night and asked if he could spend the night on my couch. I told him I had a perfectly good second—or even—third bedroom, and he could have his choice of either. He hadn’t arrive until late, so neither of us felt like talking much. I offered sympathy because I’d gone through all this a year or so ago when my wife and I called it quits. I kept my house; she took my money and moved out of state. You’d think that would be an open invitation to glory in my new-found freedom and paint the town, but I chose to remain monastic and concentrate on restoring my financial solvency. My Ex was capable of earning as much as I was, so she took her pieces of my flesh in the form of cash. I wasn’t saddled with alimony, thank goodness.

The next morning, Chuck and I elected to have breakfast at a little diner we both favored. To make a point—we both had biscuits and gravy with eggs-over-easy. He wasn’t very forthcoming, tending to nurse his coffee afterward and husband his words. I did draw him out enough to understand his brother-in-law had showed up, stayed the weekend, and cajoled Judi out of five hundred dollars.

He kept his own counsel at work, so I did likewise and didn’t mention the incident. But Friday night at the bar, he let it all out to his three buddies. Seems like five hundred bucks wasn’t all of it. Chuck’s wife had given her brother her car and was now agitating for another. She’d never liked the Chevy she’d driven for the last three years. Wanted something fancier, of course. Perhaps earlier I should have used the simile, Chuck was Chevy while Judi was Cadillac to explain them. Except, she was demanding something foreign. A Jaguar, I think. Who knew? I’d never have pegged her for someone wanting anything to do with the jungle.

The upshot was that I now had a houseguest at least once a week. Chuck’s golf game went to pot so badly he had to quit betting with us… couldn’t afford the club membership and the losses. Before the summer was out, it was clear to me his marriage was heading the same direction mine had gone. To oblivion.

Chuck didn’t have my hindsight and continued to insist they were just going through a rough spot. Mighty big briar patch… better part of six months now. He’d forgiven the five hundred lost to his brother-in-law, found a used Jaguar for Judi, and expected things to settle down. Didn’t, of course, she’d wanted a new Jag. Since he was absolutely sure she wasn’t running around on him in her new, used car, he considered everything had worked out okay.

Yeah, right.

Football season had started before my doorbell rang at night again. I opened the door, waved him in and hurried back into the den and the television set. Nothing was said until one team called timeout.

“So what’s up, Chuck? You in the doghouse again, or did you come over to watch the game?”

He almost broke up, which made me regret my flip remark. “She’s leaving me, Brick. Told me so tonight.”

“She doesn’t mean it.”

Yeah, she does. Already leased a place. Showed me the contract.”

“Oh.” I swallowed all my “you’ll be better off” remarks and took a good look at my friend. And he was my friend. My best… my closest buddy in the world. When we were teenagers, I’d had a crush on him. I would’ve been his slave, done anything he’d wanted, if he’d simply arched an eyebrow. From fifteen to seventeen, that is. I was seventeen when I met my future wife, and that changed everything.

The rest of the ballgame was lost, my time taken up commiserating with my buddy in his time of trouble. Didn’t offer advice. Knew from my own experience that advice wasn’t what he needed at the moment. Time for that later. He just needed sympathy. Empathy. Someone to be there for him.

Then he lost control. I’d seen Chuck grit his teeth at a broken ankle, take a brutal kidney punch in a teenage brawl, and let someone put a dislocated shoulder back in place, all without so much as anything beyond a groan. Never seen the guy shed a tear over anything.

Until tonight.

When the dam burst, I instinctively scooted over on the couch beside him and draped my arm around his shoulders. For fifteen minutes, I sat—semi-holding my best friend—while he hemorrhaged tears and words. Half the words so slurred I don’t know what they were. Eventually, the words ran out, but the tears didn’t. He turned into me and buried his head in my neck. I held him, not daring to move, for a long time. Well, probably wasn’t over a minute, but seemed like half an hour.

When he finally spoke again, the words were muffled.

“Thanks, guy… you know, for being a friend. D-didn’t mean to fall apart on you.”

“Don’t worry about it,” I said, patting his back fondly.

“Must seem like a pussy,” he snuffled, his lips tickling my neck.

“Nah. Seem like the same old Rock of Gibraltar to me.”

That had been what the announcer called him when he was a lineman on our high school football team. We’d been the Rock and the Brick.

“Quivering puddle of jelly’s more like it.”

Chuck, you’re more man than anyone I know,” I said.

“R-really? Hope for me yet?”

“You got lots of good times ahead of you. Better ones than with Judi,” I quipped, stressing the y that belonged on the end of her name. “You’ve got adventures you’ve thought about for years to explore, experiences you’ve only dreamed about—”

I lost the ability to speak when his lips suddenly covered mine. Surprised, shocked, I started to push him away, but relented.

Oh, what the hell! Might as well see what I missed back when I was sixteen.



It isn’t often we get to relive our sixteenth year, is it? Wonder how Brick enjoyed it.

Until next week, stay safe and stay strong. 

Now my mantra:  Keep on reading and keep on writing. You have something to say... so say it! 

In case you haven't done so lately, please take a look at my BJ Vinson murder mystery series starting with The Zozobra Incident and ending with The Cutie Pie Murders. Perhaps one of the seven books might make a good Christmas present for someone you know.  There are also three standalone books.

My personal links: 



X: @dontravis3

See you next Thursday.



New Posts every Thursday at 6:00 a.m. US Mountain Time. 


Thursday, December 7, 2023

Boy For Sale (Part 2 of 2 Parts) blog post #631

 Image Courtesy of Way Up Gifts:


So last week, we saw Colin Ragner, who obviously dislikes gays, arranging to buy a boy from a young, blond, obviously gay man called Kevin Tolliver. What’s up with that?


Let’s find out.





Colin was a patient man, but Kevin Tolliver wore it to a frazzle by dawdling over dinner, and dessert, and an after-dinner drink. What was that kid Barton doing while they were wasting time here. He wanted to pay for the goods and then depart with the “package,” nothing more or nothing less.

He mentally shook himself. Settle down. Barton will be just as good later as he is now. So play this weirdo’s game.

And a game it was, with frequent intimate touches on the arm, leaning forward and laughing intimately, and occasionally dropping the voice to a whisper. Lots of raucous laughter that brought eyes of everyone in the joint to their table.

Abruptly, Tolliver swept to his feet—he apparently didn’t get up and sit down like everyone else, he did it dramatically. “Ready? Let’s go to your place,” the blond said loudly enough for most of the room to hear.

Colin stood, placed his napkin on the table, snatched the bill, and headed for the cashier, muttering his hotel room number to his tormentor. Buying a boy from some creep shouldn’t be so involved. Hand over the money, get the boy and go, that’s how it should be. And that’s all it would be from now on. The games were over.

Colin turned over his car for valet parking and strode into the lobby of the Manchester Hotel feeling as if he looked like the fool he felt. He’d lost control of the situation, something he should never have allowed to happen. As he entered the elevation, he muttered the words he should have said in the first place, “Pony up, buster, or I’m gone.” He took his irritation out on the button calling for the fourth floor.

He'd barely shed his coat before the expected knock came. He admitted Tolliver, turning his back on him insolently and striding into the room.

Kevin Tolliver glanced around. “Nice. Make a nice love nest.”

“I wouldn’t know. Let’s get down to business.”

“My, my, impatient, aren’t we? You’re not even going to offer me a libation?”

“You’ve libated on all of my time you’re going to.” Colin reached under a table and brought out a thick envelope. “Fifty thousand, like we agreed.”

Tolliver accepted the package. “You won’t mind if I count it, will you.”

“Count it, and then let’s get going.”

“You’re really hot for this kid, aren’t you?” the blond said.

“Stop the sleaze talk and start counting.”

“You’re beginning to sound like you don’t enjoy my company. Oh, well, let’s complete our business.”

The room was silent for the next few minutes as Tolliver counted the money… twice. Finally he looked up. “Looks like it’s all here.”

“Great. Where’s the kid?”

“I’ve decided to up the ante,” Tolliver said. “I want something else.”

“A deal’s a deal. The James family isn’t all that wealthy. You should have kidnapped a bigger fish if you wanted more money.”

“Oh, the money’s quite adequate. It meets my needs quite adequately. But you’ve been so insolently charming, I want something else.”

“If not money, what?”


Colin’s eyebrows shot up. Revulsion crawled up his spine. “Me? No way, you slime ball. You’re not putting your hands on me.”

“Oh, it’s not my hands I want to put on you, sweetie. Look at it this way, you can just lie back and enjoy it, and the James family gets their darling boy back no worse for the wear. Or we can go to war and somebody gets hurt.”

“Meaning you.”

“Possibly, but what about poor Barton. He might not come out of this so well, either. Why make it hard? Just give me what I want. After all, it is your fault, you know.”

“Mine? How in the hell is it my fault.”

Tolliver smiled, dimpling his left cheek. “Well, first… you’re much hunkier than I expected. Downright sexy. And second, you’ve been sort of rude to me. Not overtly, but still quite dissing. So I want payback. And I can’t imagine any payback more distasteful to you.”

“You’re a real bastard, you know that, don’t you,” Colins said between clenched teeth. “How do I even know you’ve got the kid.”

“Oh, I’m prepared for that. Proof of life, isn’t that what they call it?” Tolliver took out his phone and poked some buttons. A moment later, he spoke into the mouthpiece. “Hi, doll. Yeah, took longer than I thought. He insisted we have dinner first. Oh, yeah, he’s dishy. You’d eat him up. Remember, we’re on face time. I’m going to hand the phone to him, you point it at dear Barton. Don’t say anything, and don’t show your face. Might want to have Barton move so our private investigator knows he’s alive. Then terminate the call. Understood?”

A moment later, he handed the little instrument to Colin. After some dizzying movement, a youth lying naked on a bed came into focus Anxiety was evident in the features, but they were handsome, nonetheless. Good definition of the body. No gag, but the eyes had a vacant look. Drugged, most likely.

“Barton, are you okay?” Colin demanded.

The boy started, then nodded and muttered something that sounded like “Kay.”

Tolliver snatched the phone back and killed the call. “Satisfied?”


“Now, let’s satisfy me.”

Colin gritted his teeth. Why the hell not? He’d done some screwy things while ransoming kidnap victims before, but none as screwy as this.

With a sigh, he tore off his shirt.


Aha, so Colin’s a private investigator paid to ransom the Jones family’s kidnapped son and heir, Barton. Wonder how the kid got himself in that kind of jam? Some sort of a gay threesome with the wrong people? Who knows… but we can imagine all sorts of scenarios, can’t we?

 Until next week, stay safe and stay strong.

Now my mantra: Keep on reading and keep on writing. You have something to say… so say it! And for those of you who also read Mark Wildyr’s blog, don’t forget it was my mantra first!

Please check out my BJ Vinson murder mystery series starting with The Zozobra Incident and ending with The Cutie-Pie Murders. I may be biased, but I think they’d make great Christmas gifts for the right person.

My personal links:



Twitter: @dontravis3

See you next Thursday.



 New Posts every Thursday morning at 6:00 a.m. US Mountain time. 


Thursday, November 30, 2023

Boy For Sale (Part 1 of 2 Parts) blog post #630

 Image Courtesy of  Depositphotos:


Hope everyone survived Turkey Day and got a kick out of my oddball story last week. Try to do better this week with another two-part short story.





Colin Ragner didn’t like the looks of the place. Side street bistros unsettled him. A middlin’ sized sign with dancing lights identified it as the Lost Soul’s Bar and Grill. He’d stood in the night shadows across the street for a quarter of an hour and watched the traffic. Men and women—and some individuals hard to pigeonhole—arrived as singles and departed as couples. If the joint wasn’t a gay bar, it was at least gay friendly. Not his kind of place.

Colin sighed. Didn’t matter. That’s where he had to go. He’d kept his mark waiting for fifteen minutes, now he needed to go inside. Tossing the cigarette he hadn’t smoked, just toyed with by rolling across his lips, he stepped into the street, avoiding a puddle. Rained most of the afternoon, merely overcast tonight.

The blue door swung open at the touch of his fingers. Oiled and balanced. Heavy and expensive. The entryway was properly dark. Management wanted just enough light to make everyone look good. Patrons wouldn’t see blotches and blemishes on their tryst for the night until lights went on in someone’s apartment later. Confirmed his impression. A hookup joint. Classy one, though.

A hefty black man stood unobtrusively near the door. Muscle on the lookout for hellions. Apparently, Colin didn’t register on his trouble meter. The man nodded courteously and allowed him through.

The bar—long, gleaming, and probably ebony—stretched along the right side of the room while the seating area opened to the left. No booths. Tables only. Linen covers. He’d hate to pay their laundry bill. The band stage stood vacant at the far end of the big room. Probably didn’t have live entertainment until weekends. There’d be a cover charge if musicians were performing, and no one had collected a penny when he entered.

A decent crowd ranging from black tie and gowns to poplin and denims sat around the place. Only six or so occupied stools at the bar. He spotted his mark among them and understood the meeting venue. The guy was blond and good looking, the kind who could lounge around for half a day waiting for the right hookup. Briefly, he wondered if the young man was really gay. Didn’t really matter. Colin knew a big sissy who could take on the entire Redskins line one at a time and be standing at the end… be it fighting or fornicating.

Colin took a seat at this end of the bar. Let the guy come to him. Be interesting to see his approach. Blondie had already spotted him, of that he was certain. He’d seen a flicker in the guy’s eyes in the big mirror that ran behind the bar.

His mark was not patient. As soon as Colin was served, he picked up his highball and moved down beside him. “Wagner?” An error or checking for accuracy.

“Ragner,” he said.

“Right, Ragner. I’m Tolliver. Thought for a while I was being stood up. But you were just being careful, right?”

“Could be.”

“You have what I’m looking for?”

Colin caught a glint of humor in the blue eyes. Gay. Definitely. Okay, that fit.

“Course not,” he answered. “Not about to bring that kind of money to a joint like this. Got more sense than that.”

The look of amusement deepened. “Oh, you want to get me off to yourself, do you?”

Colin played the game. “Didn’t figure you’d object to a hotel room.”

The grin turned into a broad smile. “Yours or mine?”

“Mine, I think.”

Tolliver raised his voice a bit. “So long as it has a bed.”

Playing to an audience, most likely. If not, there might be trouble in the offing.

“Well, Mr. Colin Ragner, I haven’t eaten, and they have a great menu here. Let’s take a table and order before we go to your place. On you, of course.”

Colin frowned. “I didn’t come to this joint for a meal. I came to do business. You have the kid?”

“Oh, you’re anxious to see our boy, aren’t you. He is a delicious handful, I can tell you.”

Colin lifted his head. “He’s okay?”

“Of course, I wouldn’t sell you damaged goods. Barton—that’s his name, you know—is one good-looking kid. Handsome of face and form, as they say. Just the right age. Eighteen. Gay but not a fem. Matter of fact, he’s downright macho. Off hand, I’d say the price is right.”

“Okay, then let’s stop screwing around and go get him.”

“After dinner. My first name’s Kevin, by the way. You can contain yourself long enough to dine with me, can’t you? Besides, you’re a hunky dude, Colin. I want everyone to see what a catch I made this evening. Jason, that’s the bartender, he’s already giving me a thumbs up. He might ask for your phone number before we leave. Not terribly handsome, but a body to die for.”

“Keep your dirty mouth shut, Tolliver.”

“Touchy, aren’t we?” The blond stood. “Let’s take a table now. I’m in the mood for a grilled salmon steak. With asparagus and sweet potato, I think.

Colin gritted his teeth and trailed the man to a table in the middle of the room. At least, the guy didn’t swish when he walked.



What’s going on here? Who is Colin Ragner, anyway? He obviously doesn’t cotton to gays, but he’s buying a boy? Either the guy’s a monster, or there’s something going on we don’t understand yet.

 All will be revealed next week. Until then, stay safe and stay strong.

Now my mantra: Keep on reading and keep on writing. You have something to say... so say it! And for those of you who also read Mark Wildyr's blog, don't forget it was my mantra first!

Please check out my BJ Vinson murder mystery series starting with The Zozobra Incident and ending with The Cutie Pie Murders. I may be biased, but I think they'd make great Christmas gifts for the right person.

My personal links:



Twitter: @dontravis3

See you next Thursday.


New posts every Thursday morning at 6:00 a.m. US Mountain time.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

A Bloodline of Saints and Sinners (Part 2 of 2 Parts) blog post #629

 Image Courtesy of Tubi:


First, happy Thanksgiving wishes to all. Don’t overeat… too much. It’s a good family day, so enjoy it.

 Last week, we met Prince (Christian name, not a title) Drexell and determined there was something odd about him. For one thing, he obsessed over his long bloodline stretching back to Eastern Europe… but masked (masked?) by the German name Drexell. Odd, right. At the moment, he’s on the hunt for blonde, pretty Miriam Hindleson but not having much luck. Let’s see what happens next.




Prince grew agitated with himself. What was taking so long? The woman was susceptible, he was certain of that. He’d tested Miriam in a hundred ways since he met her at a cocktail party six months ago. He’d played little games with the fetching blonde that very first night. Suggesting that she really didn’t dislike Scotch, after all, and watching her drink it for the rest of the evening instead of her usual bourbon.

And he’d talked her into a date or two, despite the feeling she was wary of him. He well understood there were those who could sense individuals like him the moment they met. He’d run into many of them over the length of his bloodline, but Miriam Hindleson did not appear to be one of them.

He thought back over the past few months. She did have a strong will beneath that polite, deferential exterior. He hadn’t managed to get a moment alone with her despite escorting her to a horrendously expensive—and mediocre—Broadway opening and an equally costly dinner at the Four Seasons. Close, but not quite. She’d faltered before closing the door to him the last time he’d taken her home. That was the reason he’d invited her out this evening. But she obviously had other plans and declined his offer. Let’s face it, she’d turned him down flat.

Perhaps it was the influence of that brunette from somewhere in the middle of the country, that Loretta Montrose who pulled Miriam another direction. Mayhap there was even a love affair between the two women, although he doubted it. He was sensitive to “those kinds” of people, and used it to his advantage when a particular young man caught his fancy.

No, but there was something between the two women. A closeness, an affinity that was unusual. Very well, he’d just have to try harder.


Miriam came to her senses as she walked the Avenue. Perhaps it was the rumble of traffic or passersby hailing one another. Or perhaps it was an alarm buried deep in her own subconscious. Whatever it was, she came to an abrupt halt and cried aloud, causing nearby pedestrians to give her a strange look.

“Watch it, lady!” one stroller warned as he detoured around her. Prince! For a moment, she thought it was Prince Drexell, but it wasn’t. Nonetheless, the conscious thought of the man she found strangely abhorrent sobered her. Abruptly, she reversed direction and fled back to her brownstone.


Prince refreshed his drink and settled back into his hair. After a refreshing sip, he closed his eyes, concentrated on a mental image of the lovely Miriam Hindler, and commenced his mantra.

“Come, my dear. Do not be afraid. Come to me. Come, come.”

It felt as if he were starting all over again, and he divined that was true. She’d eluded him, but he’d prevail yet.

“Come, come, come….”

He was tiring and about to give up for the night, when he sensed a response. Faint, but a response. Perhaps the Montrose woman had been with Miriam. If so, she was likely gone now. Yes… yes. The response was stronger, yet he sensed resistance. Concentrating harder, he threw his net wider, farther. Wider than ever before. Was he that hungry for this blonde vision? After all, he’d tasted many… a multitude during the course of his bloodline. But for some reason this perfectly ordinary woman had become an obsession.

He reconsidered his last thought. Ordinary? Yes… yes, she was. Extraordinary in looks, but everything else about her was rather common compared to other women he’d had. Highborn movers and shakers had beaten the path to his doorway. So why was this woman so resistant to his… embrace?

He didn’t know. And that was what made her so fetching. He grimaced as he concentrated so deeply it was almost painful. Muttering, whispering, repeating his mantra over and over again. “Come… come… come to me.

While he felt he was making progress, he was still taken aback at the ringing of his doorbell. A smile broke across his features. Success. She was here. Strange that he did not sense it. Usually he had forewarning. This ordinary woman was proving surprising in a number of ways.

Prince took a final sip of his drink, stood, adjusted his smoking jacket, and walked to the door, muttering beneath his breath as the bell sounded again.

“Patience, my dear. I’m on my way.”

Prince opened the door and was startled at the sight of the figure on his stoop. A tall brunette stood with a vacant look in her eyes. The Montrose woman.

He recovered and took her hand, leading her docilly inside. He would have to beware of casting such a broad net in the future. But this Loretta creature would do for the time being. She must have been closer to Miriam than he thought. Oh, well.

Wordlessly, he led the befuddled woman inside, swept the coat from around her shoulders, and pulled her into an embrace. Eyeing that long, lovely throat hungrily.



Now we see why Prince is so obsessed by bloodlines.

Wonder what’s coming up next? Don’t have any idea.

 Stay safe and stay strong.

Now my mantra: Keep on reading and keep on writing. You have something to say… so say it!

Don’t forget to check out my BJ Vinson murder mystery series starting with The Zozobra Incident and ending with The Cutie-Pie Murders:

My personal links:



Twitter: @dontravis3

See you next Thursday.


New Posts every Thursday morning at 6:00 a.m. US Mountain time. 


Thursday, November 16, 2023

A Bloodline of Saints and Sinners (Part 1 of 2 Parts) blog post #628

 Image Courtesy of Pinterest:


I hope you enjoyed the reading from Donald T. Morgan’s novel Mounds. If so, let him know at


Today, we’ll have the first installment of a new short story. Hope it provides some entertainment, however brief. Here goes.




Prince Marcus Drexell sipped his fernet con coca and replaced the snifter—his choice of glassware despite the need for ice—on the table at his elbow before leaning back in his easy chair. Prince was his Christian name, not a title, a sobriquet conveyed by parents bewitched by a long bloodline stretching back to Eastern Europe but masked by the Germanic name Drexell. Long though that lineage might be, it was rife with both aristocrats and plebeians, saints and sinners. Prince had not bothered to consider where he fit in such a hierarchy.

Closing his eyes, he pressed forefingers to temples and muttered, “Come. Come to me.” The mantra became a chant to the ether. “Come to me, come to me, come, come….”

Intoning his command, he envisioned a slender blonde woman, her hair worn long, heart face alternating between a luscious smile and a pert, puckish frown. Most called her pretty, but to him she was lovely. Lovelier than he’d met in… well, in a long, long time. Her breasts, sharp and pert—not heavy and sagging like so many men admired—intrigued him, commanding first glance each time he saw her. Her aquamarine eyes were as green as the ocean off the coast of Miami. Wide, feminine hips, slender shoulders… and that neck. Long and white and flawless. He liked long necks on women. Graceful. Regal. Swan like. A sign, at least to his mind, of good breeding.

He took another sip of whiskey and cola before resuming his incantation.


Precisely one mile away, Miriam Hindleson started in her chair in a third floor flat of a brownstone facing a small, charming park softly lit by circles of lamp glow. She blinked. Had she dropped off? After examining the book in her lap, she decided not. Her eyes fell right on the place she’d last read. And Marta Molnar’s The Secret Life of Sunflowers, the story of Vincent van Gogh’s sister-in-law, certainly didn’t put her to sleep. Move her to tears? Yes. Rip unexpected laughter from her throat? Often. But put her to sleep? No.

After eating and bathing earlier in the evening, she had looked forward to a calm night of reading. Now, she was edgy, constantly shifting position in search of physical comfort. Miriam laid the book in her lap and examined her arms. Horripilated. Why? What was wrong with her? At times she felt as if a voice hovered at her ear, speaking, calling, yet unheard.

She shook her head. She wasn’t prescient. Not given to premonitions, and certainly not that imaginative. “Go away,” she muttered aloud, responding to something she didn’t understand. “Leave me alone,” she added for good measure.

Deciding a cup of hot tea might help her settle, Miriam rose, enjoying the feel of satin as the sleeping gown moved over her knees. She made her way to the kitchen and puttered with the tea kettle. Maybe she should have gone to the theater with her friend Lorena. Or accepted Prince Drexell’s invitation for dinner. But no, she’d craved quiet and relaxation this evening.

An image of Lorena Montrose brought a smile. The civil engineer Miriam met at work three years ago had become her best friend. They’d bonded instantly, growing so close they seemed to know what one another thought, finished one another’s sentences. Serious and efficient at the office, the brunette from Nebraska morphed into a mischievous pixie the moment they left the workplace. She was fun, and she attracted men like flies.

Prince was another matter… one a bit more unsettling. Unsettling how? If she could figure that out, perhaps she would know if she liked or detested the man. At the moment, that was up in the air. Handsome, erudite, witty, cultured. What not to like? But the lawyer could raise chill bumps on her arms just as she’d experienced a few minutes ago. Lorena impishly said that was what love did to a woman. But somehow that didn’t seem to be the gooseflesh of love.

Enjoying the hot tea as she returned to the book, Miriam sought to reclaim the calm of her earlier evening. For a bit, she succeeded. Then came that insistent message… if that’s what it was. At one point, she did nod off, waking with a start. Strange that she could fall asleep while every nerve in her system seemed to be fired. It must have happened again, because she grew aware that she was standing in the hallway, fully dressed, a coat across her shoulders, handbag in her clutches.

That frightened her. She’d never walked in her sleep before. Upset with herself. Miriam determined to get back into her gown, or at least a lounging robe, but, instead, sat back in her chair, fully clothed. She was certain that was what she did, yet sometime later, she became aware of standing on the front stoop, locking the door behind her. Why? She decided to return to the house immediately. Instead, she found herself on the sidewalk walking the long block to the Avenue. Why? That’s where she could find a taxi, that’s why.


What in the world is going on? Strange things, eerie things… that’s for sure. Let’s see what develops.

 Stay safe and stay strong.

Now my mantra: Keep on reading and keep on writing. You have something to say... so say it!

Don't forget to check out my BJ Vinson murder mystery series starting with The Zozobra Incident and ending with The Cutie Pie Murders: 

My personal links:



Twitter: @dontravis3

See you next Thursday.


New Posts every Thursday morning at 6:00 a.m. US Mountain time



New Posts every Thursday morning at 6:00 a.m. US Mountain time. 


Thursday, November 9, 2023

Mounds, A Novel (Guest Post) blog post #627

 Image Courtesy of Suncatcher Studio:


I guess we left Larry Lovestock not yet sure where his love stick belongs. Happens to a lot of us.

 Today, we have a guest post from my Okie buddy Donald T. Morgan. Back in May of 2018, I posted the Prologue and part of Chapter 1 for my readers. Since that back beyond our attention span, let me remind readers the novel is a mystery set in Southeastern Oklahoma. It is also the story of twenty-year-old, shy, retiring Derek Monsum, a young farmer with failed ambitions to be an archaeologist. Derek lives on a poor, clay-heavy farm with his alcoholic father (who lost a leg in the Panama Invasion) and his young stepmother. He and his father’s new wife don’t mesh well together. In Chapter 1, we learn the Oklahoma University anthropology Department is sending a team to excavate an ancient Caddoan Indian burial mound adjacent to the farm.

 We pick up in Chapter 2 where Derek has gone to the town library to write a letter to a Dr. Petersen, who’s coming down to dig up the mound. He’s asking for a job on the dig crew.

 Hang on… it’s a little long. Here goes.




By Donald T. Morgan

Derek made a long-distance call from the pay phone at the drug store. Getting through to Dr. Ericksen’s office ate up a healthy portion of his emergency fund—money hoarded from last season’s corn crop—but a secretary eventually provided the information he needed. That done, Derek headed straight for the library at the north end of downtown. Mrs. Lillian Greavy greeted him enthusiastically, as always. She was fond of him, but then she liked anybody who read books.

The neat, blue-haired librarian—who’d helped him earn his GED—nodded toward the stacks and chirped, “They’re back there, Derek. Help yourself.”

“Maybe later, ma’am. First, I need to borrow a pen and some paper and buy an envelope and stamp.”

“We can manage that.”

Derek sat at one of the reading tables to write a letter to this Dr. Ericksen who was coming to dig up his mounds. When Mrs. Greavy found out what he was doing, she wrote a note, folded it, and told him to put it in the envelope with his application, saying it never hurt to have a local recommendation. She added the stamped envelope to the library’s outgoing mail, sparing him a trip to the post office.

His chore accomplished, Derek walked to the shelf holding the library’s archaeology section to overdose on a load of delightful dreams. O’Connor’s Lost Cities of the Ancient Southeast and Fagan’s From Black Land to Fifth Sun stole minutes from the day so smoothly he hardly noticed them slip by. He could have lived in those books. For the hundredth time, he studied the color plates and absorbed the familiar lines of text. Only when the librarian’s discreet noises intruded on his consciousness did he realize it was closing time. As usual, he’d overdone it. Cassie would give him a good scorching. So what else was new?

Derek breezed through the front door to trip down three shallow steps to the sidewalk. Dismayed at how low the sun lay in the sky, he didn’t notice the girl until they collided.

“Whoops!” he exclaimed, trying to stem his momentum.

“Derek Monsum, you’re as clumsy as ever.”

“Sorry. Did I hurt you?”

Darla Morse’s brown eyes snapped as she shook her brunette shag. She was tall for a girl, a smidgen shorter than his five-ten. Still looked like a cheerleader, although she’d never been one, disdaining such “airheaded” pursuits, probably because she had worked after school for as long as he could remember.

“No, no thanks to you. Where you going in such a hurry?”

“Late getting home.” He snatched a quick glance at her pretty face before fixing his eyes resolutely on a crack in the sidewalk and backing away a neutral distance. He swiped the itchy mole on his upper lip, hoping she wouldn’t think his nose was running.

“You’re always late. Late to every class we ever took together.”

 The recollection, delivered with a laugh, drew an answering chuckle from him. “Practically, I guess. Where you headed?”

“Home from work. That’s all I ever do. Go to work. Go home.”

“You still at the insurance place?” he asked.

“Still the glue holding the Ribbens Insurance Agency together.”

He noticed his dirty boots but didn’t know how to hide them and ended up in a slow shuffle backward. “I’ll bet you are too. You know, the glue.”

“You better believe it. One of these days I’ll surprise everyone and make a change.” She grabbed his arm. “Buy me a Coke and tell me how you’re doing. Been ages since we talked.”

Ages? He couldn’t remember it ever happening unless yelling at him from the bleachers when he fumbled a line drive at third base counted as conversation.

“Got chores to do at home,” he protested, his stomach knotting. He’d already spent thirty-three cents on a stamp and a couple of bucks on the telephone call. Nonetheless, he allowed himself to be dragged along when she reversed direction and headed back downtown. He still had at least one dollar in his pocket, enough for a couple of colas.

“I’ll take mercy on you,” Darla declared. “We’ll go dutch treat.”

Conscious they made a spectacle with her pulling him along, he matched his long farmer’s stride to her nice legs. “Okay, I guess.”

Nina’s Café was busy, but Nina Gillette took time to greet them by name and wave them to a booth. Ignoring their call for a couple of Cokes, the sturdy proprietress bustled over and flashed a blinding smile. She was pretty. For a middle-aged woman, that is.

“Derek,” she roared in a voice accustomed to calling orders to the kitchen. “Got a deal for you. I got four cracked panes on the windows out back. They gotta be replaced and the wire mesh on the outside cleaned. You do that, and I’ll treat you to a couple of burgers, a large order of fries, two sodas, and throw in ten bucks to boot. How about it?”

“Sure, but I can’t do it tonight.”

“Sunday after church?”

He brightened. “That’ll work.”

Darla reminisced about their school days while they waited for their order. Derek leaned back in the blue, padded booth and listened, alternately worrying the mole on his lip and drumming his fingers on a gray-speckled Formica tabletop worn thin by a thousand arms and elbows. He and Darla had been in the same class from the first grade until Derek dropped out of school in the twelfth, which gave her a lot to chatter about while he called up images of a spindly girl filling out into something nice.

“Wish you hadn’t quit school,” she said. “Missed you at graduation.”

“Me? You missed me?”

“Course, we did. All the teachers said you could amount to something. You’re smart, Derek. You even wanted to be something smart. What was it? Had to do with those hills you were always talking about.”

“Mounds,” he corrected. “They’re mounds. You know, old Indian burial places.”

“Oh, I remember now. You wanted to be an archaeologist.”

He flushed at the pretentiousness of his dream spoken aloud. “Yeah.”

“What’s so fascinating about a bunch of old clay pots and dried-up bones?”

“Just interesting, that’s all.”

As Nina delivered their order, Darla shook her head, allowing a trace of impatience to show. “Don’t do that. I’m trying to understand, so don’t cut me off. You wouldn’t go dig up a cemetery and call it interesting, would you?”

Savoring the aroma of freshly cooked beef and pungent onions, he smeared mustard on his hamburger. “No, but we know all there is to know about those folks.”

“And we don’t about the people in the mounds?”

She sounded sincere, so he leaned forward to answer her that way. “There’s lots we don’t know about them. For instance, who were they? They were Indians, but which Indians?” He warmed to his subject, shedding his usual phobia about coming across as a weirdo. “Some say they weren’t Indians at all. Claim they were Canaanites or the Lost Tribes of Israel.”

“Like in the Bible?”

“Uh-huh. Or some race of super beings.”

She picked up her burger, took a small nibble, and dabbed her lips with a paper napkin. “You don’t really believe that, do you?”

Derek shook his head over a mouthful of Nina’s delicious food. He didn’t know what the cook did to them, but her burgers were the best in the county. A bunch of other patrons happily chowing down confirmed his assessment. He swallowed before answering. “Those are just some of the wild theories going around. They were Indians, all right.”

They worked on their meal in silence for a few moments. He liked the graceful way her small hand gripped the soda glass. When she caught him looking at her, he glanced away.

“Weren’t they Choctaws… like we have now?” She put down the drink and took another bite of her hamburger.

“No, these people were a mounds culture. Around here, I’d say Caddo. Lots of natives buried their dead in mounds back then. There are mounds all the way from New York to Florida.”

“Are they out west too?”

“Mostly the eastern woodlands. We’re on the western perimeter of the mounds civilizations. There’s a big Mississippian culture complex up at Spiro in Leflore County near the Arkansas border. I hear the earthworks are really something to see.”

“You’ve never seen them?”

He gave a bitter laugh. “I’ve never seen anything.”

She reached out and patted his hand. He flinched at the unexpected touch. “You will, Derek. You hang in there.”

A sudden commotion at the door drew his attention. Dale Ray Hawkins entered and headed straight for their booth, surprising him. He and Dale Ray weren’t particularly friendly. The attraction soon became clear.

“Hello, Darla.” Dale Ray, a contemporary of Bowie’s, verged on being good looking but was snatched back by a perpetual scowl and a weak chin. The heavy thighs and wide hips that once made him a decent lineman for the Hilton High Hornets now threatened to render him lumpy. Derek noticed the man’s gaze rested on Darla’s hand atop his.

“Dale Ray,” she responded.

Hawkins ignored Derek. “Been looking for you. Got two tickets to the Demolition Derby over in Clovertown Friday night. Play your cards right, you can go with me.”

Darla’s answer gave Derek a start.

“Sorry, but Derek’s already asked me to go to the movie Friday.”

Dale Ray’s dull, dun eyes flicked to him. “You can go to a movie anytime. The Demo Derby don’t come around every day.”

Darla leaned back in the booth with arms folded over her breasts. “What makes you think I’m interested in watching people smash up cars?”

Dale Ray’s mouth dropped. He sucked in breath before coming up with an answer. “Everybody likes the derby.”

“Not me. I’m going to the movie with Derek.” Her voice held a finality even Dale Ray understood.

“Whatever. Your loss.” He turned his back and slouched off, his hips working about as hard as Cassie’s when she was in a snit.

As soon as Dale Ray was out of earshot, Darla sighed. “Can’t stand that man, but he keeps hitting on me. Sorry about the movie thing. I just needed an excuse.”

“Why don’t you like him?”

“He’s creepy. Dale Ray thinks he’s God’s gift to women. Some girls might find his caveman attitude sexy. Not me. But I guess his dad’s money makes him attractive to some.”

Darwin Hawkins owned the local auto parts store where his son had worked all through school. That was how Dale Ray could afford to drive a snappy blue ’98 Chrysler LeBaron convertible. What made the family a standout to Derek were the hundreds—maybe thousands—of arrowheads and lance points and stone hatchets old man Hawkins had scavenged over the years. Derek hadn’t seen the collection, never even been invited to the Hawkins home, but they claimed the governor was carping at the Hawkins family to donate the treasure trove to the state museum up in Oklahoma City.

Darla’s voice snatched his attention back. “And Dale Ray thinks he has to maul every girl he goes out with. Never did understand what Bowie saw in him. They used to hang out a lot.”

He met her gaze for a brief instant. He liked her big elk’s eyes. Pretty eyes turned him on. He nodded and sipped his soda, his cheeks burning when the straw made a slurping sound. He set the glass down hard. “They bummed around in high school. Double dated some. Anyway, Dale Ray’s too old for you.”

Darla gave him a pitying look. “He’s too wild for me, but he and Bowie are only six years older than we are. Bet you didn’t know I went out with Bowie once before he left.”

“Bowie left two years ago. You couldn’t have been more than seventeen.”

“Just turned eighteen.” She frowned. “He was sorta hard to handle too. Did you know Dale Ray and Cassie used to go out some? Bowie and Cassie dated too… before your dad was in the picture,” she hastened to add.

Aware it was dark outside, Derek glanced at the illuminated wall clock advertising Coca-Cola in undulating shades of crimson and was surprised to discover it was after eight. He had enjoyed himself and lost track of time. Usually, he was so uncomfortable around a girl every minute was an hour. Even when he about halfway went steady with Betsy Bates his sophomore year, he’d never been completely at ease. What made Darla different? Ah… because she hadn’t gone cross-eyed when he talked about mounds.

Inch by reluctant inch, he worked his way out of the booth. “Didn’t realize it was so late. Gotta get home and finish up my chores.”

Darla collected her purse and got to her feet. “That’s what happens when you’re having fun. Thanks for the burger.”

A little tingle played up his back. She had fun? “Glad to do it. Uh, and if you’d like to, we can take in the movie Friday night. You know, so you won’t be fibbing to Dale Ray.” He frowned. Where could he come up with ten bucks for two tickets to the picture show until he could pay it back out of Nina’s ten dollars? Darn! Should he have left a tip? Or was it included in Nina’s chore?

Once outside, Darla clasped his arm as they strolled back to the library. “Glad I ran into you. Enjoyed our talk. See you Friday night. About seven?”

He tripped over his own feet but managed to remain upright. “Uh, yeah. I probably bored you with all that mounds stuff.”

“Not at all. Maybe you can tell me more about it sometime.”

“Can… can I give you a lift home?”

“Wouldn’t want you to miss your chores.”

“They’ll be waiting when I get there.”

She permitted him to drive her, even though the Morse place was only another three blocks up the street. Fighting Red Rover’s grabby brakes, he hid his embarrassment at the jerky halt in front of the Morse’s house by scrambling out and yanking open the squeaky passenger’s door. Her hand, when he helped her from the cab, was softer than anything he’d ever touched.

The motor stuttered as he herded the old truck down the highway toward the farm. Daddy hadn’t got the carburetor working right yet. Nonetheless, Derek caught himself humming an Elvis tune. Surprised, he pursed his lips. Why in blue blazes did he feel so good?


Hope you saw enough of Derek to figure out he’s a pretty good guy. Shy and socially awkward, but a sound human being.

 Next week, we’ll probably be back to one of my short stories.

Stay safe and stay strong.

Now my mantra: Keep on reading and keep on writing. You have something to say… so say it!

Don’t forget to check out my BJ Vinson murder mystery series starting with The Zozobra Incident and ending with The Cutie-Pie Murders:

My personal links:



Twitter: @dontravis3

See you next Thursday.



 New Posts every Thursday morning at 6:00 a.m. US Mountain time. 



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